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Schedule Preview: Duquesne

Florida State hasn’t won a season opener since 2016.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Duquesne at TCU Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As we work our way towards the start of Florida State Seminoles football season, Tomahawk Nation is taking the time to break down the Seminoles schedule. First up — a week zero matchup vs. the Duquesne Dukes.

Here’s a sobering stat — Florida State hasn’t won a season opener since 2016.

In that span, FSU has watched losses to Alabama, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. 2022 looks to be the year that the Noles buck that trend, scheduling an FCS opponent in the Duquesne Dukes to head down to Tallahassee.

No game is a given — there’s no need to labor on reminding you, dear reader, on the last time an FCS opponent made its way down to Doak Campbell (the Dukes, in fact, took down of their own an FBS opponent in Ohio last season), but FSU knows what’s at stake in this opener. A tone needs to be set, especially with a major matchup lurking around the corner in the LSU Tigers.

Opponent: Duquesne Dukes

Date: Saturday, August 27

Time: 5 p.m., ACCN

Last matchup: N/A

In addition to team and player breakdowns, thanks to an idea from CFBNumbers, we’ll be including in our breakdowns best case, realistic case, and worst-case scenarios.

Duquesne Dukes: Team Preview

2021 record: 7-3

The Dukes aren’t exactly a pushover — via the team’s site:

  • Duquesne has finished first or second in the Northeast Conference eight times since joining prior to the 2008 season.
  • The Dukes have posted more overall wins (76) and conference victories (48) than any other NEC team since the beginning of the 2011 season.

Names to Know

Wide receiver Cyrus Holder (First Team All-NEC)

  • 37 receptions for 629 yards with eight receiving touchdowns

Offensive linemen Jake Dixon (First Team All-NEC), Vincent Lumia (Second Team All-NEC), and Roman Macek (Second Team All-NEC)

  • 17th in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in sacks allowed per game (1.2), blocked for five individual 100-yard rushing games, two 300-yard passing games

Running back Billy Lucas (Second Team All-NEC)

  • 699 rushing yards with six rushing touchdowns, pair of 100-yard rushing performances

Linebacker Jahan Worth (First Team All-NEC)

  • Tied for the team lead with 56 tackles — 38 solo, 6.5 tackles for loss, an interception and four pass breakups.

Defensive back Leandro DeBrito (First Team All-NEC)

  • Tied team-high with 56 tackles on the season, 42 solo, two tackles for loss, a pair of interceptions, and three pass breakups.

Florida State Seminoles vs. Duquesne Dukes Prediction

Best case

A shutout — Florida State hasn’t secured one of those since 2015. against Florida Boston College, a 14-0 victory.

Actually, let’s go with the genie approach, and make sure not to leave out any specifics just in case any cosmic entities are listening. A shutout in which the margin of Florida State’s victory is 21-plus, where the offensive wizardry that’s been waiting to rear its head and run rampant finally makes an appearance. Momentum from a normal win is like the caffeine hit from a soda — one that comes after a 50-point smackdown is like a double-serving of cafecito.

Realistic

A 17-point win, which by no means is extremely satisfying, but one that lines up with the trend over the last two years. The two largest margins of victories in the Mike Norvell era, for what it’s worth, were 59-3 vs. UMass in 2021 and 56-35 vs. the Duke Blue Devils in 2020. The team comes out fundamentally sound but none too impressive, coasting to an easy win as the schedule intended.

Worst case

Well, we’ve seen the worst-case unfold in this situation, haven’t we? A complete sputtering all-around forces a captive audience to watch a 60-minute slow-moving trainwreck, as Duquesne gets revenge for its last game against an ACC member — 1950, vs. Clemson.